Matt Shiverdecker has been collecting records since “I got my first stereo on my 3rd birthday.” He’s since built a collection of around 4,000+ pieces and you can see Matt’s Discogs, here. He’s still got about half his 12″ singles and 7″ singles to add, but you get the point. The guy loves records.
So, you’ve got a collection of 4,000+ pieces. You’ve sent us some photos for the visual tour, but I want to know what the typical reaction is. Someone walks in your record room for the first time…are they overwhelmed, impressed, secretly worried for your health?
I imagine that most of the time, it’s a combination of all three. My boyfriend Ben and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment. There’s an entire wall of the living room filled with records and then the area where most people would have a dining room table continues the collection and houses our turntables. It gets much deeper in the home office, which houses all of the 7″ and 12″ singles along with a small IKEA unit of artists that take up so much space they don’t fit in the main collection (Bjork, Madonna, and Prince).
The living room also houses my movies (the Criterion collection has its own wing) and a fair amount of books, as well, so it’s a legitimate library.
Ben never collected records before we started dating 7 years ago, but it didn’t take him long to get the bug from me. He went on a real mission to pick up his favorite all-time albums and has certainly added several hundred records to the collection. We share pretty similar tastes on the whole when it comes to pop culture, so it’s been a real joy to curate a collection with him.
You stated in your application that you started collecting very, very early, as in your third birthday. What kind of music household did you grow up in? And how did your family push the appreciation of art of all kinds (you currently write about film)?
My mom put those gigantic 1970s headphones on her stomach while she was pregnant with me and played music every day so it’s really all her fault. When I was growing up, she listened to soft rock staples (James Taylor, Barry Manilow, John Denver) and my Dad pretty strictly was a prog rocker (Yes, Pink Floyd). It was an interesting blend of artists to be raised with. Once I started going to the local library and checking out records, I absorbed a lot more and my tastes expanded.
Film became a passion of mine that wasn’t really shared by my parents, but I think that soundtracks also helped teach me a lot about music and turned me onto new artists in my formative years.
In your application, you mention being the music director at WOXY.com, a radio station you worked at for over 11 years. Asking your thoughts on modern day radio would be too easy (plus I assume you’ve been asked that a million times over). So instead, what are a few genres, bands, artists you never would have added to your vinyl collection without your long radio career?
I started listening to WOXY in 1989 when I was in junior high and then worked at the station from 1998 until it shut down in 2010. From pioneering FM broadcast to an internet broadcast with fans all over the world, it introduced me to many of my favorites. I’m proud to say that my collection features a lot of bands and artists that I befriended over those years — The National, Silversun Pickups, Pete Yorn, The Mynabirds, Ra Ra Riot, Mason Proper, Headlights, Surfer Blood, and Generationals, to name a few.
You have a very eclectic collection. Just on one page of your Discogs, I see White Stripes, Whitney Houston, The Weeknd, and Zola Jesus. Was that, again, just part of growing up in radio? Having wide-ranging taste like that?
I have always loved pop and dance music, but I did program one of the most adventurous “modern rock” radio stations in the country, so my tastes are all over the map. Between the eclectic tastes of my parents and then me shifting from Top 40 radio to listening to WOXY in junior high (where I literally heard Lyle Lovett and Marilyn Manson in the same day), I just have always loved listening to a wide variety of music.
As previously stated, you write about film for Austin American-Statesman and previously for Paste and Slackerwood (RIP). With that cross-section in mind, what are the most prized soundtracks in your collection?
I talk about one of my favorites (Drive) later on, but I would say…
— Angelo Badalamenti Blue Velvet (Newbury Comics blue vinyl pressing)
— Yo La Tengo Adventureland
— Zbigniew Preisner’s Three Colors: Blue
Let’s go through those other prized possessions. Tell us a little something about why you picked each item and if there’s any interesting stories regarding your pursuit of them.
To the slightly heartbreaking part of the interview. What are those white whales you’re still on the hunt for?
These are all things that were pressed on vinyl, are long out-of-print, and I would kill to find an original copy of (or would settle for a nice reissue), in order of desire :
— Michael Nyman: The Piano soundtrack
— PJ Harvey: Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
— Everything But The Girl: Walking Wounded
— Aimee Mann: Lost in Space
— Digable Planets: Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
— Rilo Kiley: Under The Blacklight
— Sugababes: One Touch
— Any Mojave 3 albums
I always like asking this question with huge collections. What’s the care process like for a 4,000+ collection. Are you putting every single one in sleeves? Do you have the “VIP” section? Do you look to combat the Texas summer at all in any way?
I am much less apt to do mailorder in the summer, that’s for sure. I always have things delivered to my office so they aren’t left on my front porch to melt, but there’s a few months where I just don’t trust having things shipped. In terms of care, the majority of records (except for very cheap used pickups) go into sleeves and all the “VIP” albums get put into Mobile Fidelity inner sleeves.
You’re currently in Austin. Obviously a great music city, equipped with a plethora of great record stores. What’s the one you find yourself at most frequently?
Hands down, End Of An Ear. They’ve been my favorite store since moving here in 2009 and I’ve watched them grow into a beautiful new location that is frighteningly close to our apartment. Everybody on staff there is so friendly and knowledgeable; they put up with my persistent questions and special orders, and I literally always find something unexpected there in the “new arrivals” bin. I love having other stores to check out, but EOAR has my permanent loyalty.
Give us a breakdown of your sound setup.
It’s honestly pretty basic. I am picky about how things sound but have never had real audiophile equipment. Two Stanton decks running through a Numark mixer and a Sony receiver/speaker setup.
How would you describe a “warm vinyl sound”?
When people are visiting and ask about why I like records so much when they just stream online or whatever, I go over and pull out the old Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab pressing of Abbey Road. Pressed in Japan in the early ’80s, that pressing is one of my favorites of all time. It sounds like the Beatles are set up and playing in the living room.
Let’s get into some quickfire:
Variant Collector: Yes or no?
I try not to get into this mentality, but occasionally cannot resist.
Highest amount you’d drop on a single release (1xLP or 2xLP).
$100 is pretty much my limit on OG pressings that I REALLY want. I am disgusted at how general prices on new releases are skyrocketing, but I also don’t hesitate to spend $30-$40 on a MFSL pressing, knowing that it will sound amazing.
Coolest variant in your collection.
I have the gorgeous Mondo picture disc soundtrack for Drive. I got it signed in silver sharpie by Cliff Martinez at an Alamo Drafthouse screening of Only God Forgives and then signed in gold sharpie by Nicholas Winding Refn during Fantastic Fest 2015.
Best packaging in your collection.
That’s a tough one. The first thing I think of is Mondo’s Studio Ghibli: Kokyo Kyokushu (Princess Mononoke variant, artwork by Tyler Stout).
And finally, from our last COTM: Is there a record in your collection you’d be embarrassed if a romantic partner found? What is it?
Never embarrassed, but there are things I love that Ben cannot stand, so I have to save artists like Tori Amos and the Indigo Girls for when he’s not home.
What would you ask our next COTM?
What is the first album you remember buying with your own money? Did you save up for it, or was it an impulse purchase?
A big thanks to Matt for speaking with us.